NRSC chairman: Obamacare has helped ‘dramatically’ expand Senate map for GOP

Sen. Jerry Moran (2010 AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Sen. Jerry Moran (2010 AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The head of Senate Republicans' campaign arm said Friday that problems associated with the Affordable Care Act have "dramatically" expanded the Senate map for Republicans, who are gaining steam in their quest to win back the majority.

"The map and opportunities have expanded dramatically in a year, in part because of the consequences of the Affordable Care Act," said Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Moran spoke on a conference call with reporters to mark the four-year anniversary of President Obama's signing of the health-care law, which is Sunday. Moran said that in January of 2013, he felt like Republicans could "gain five, six, maybe seven seats." Today, Moran said, "we have strong credible candidates in races that can be won by those candidates in 10, 11, 12, 13 states."

Republicans must pick up six seats to win back the Senate majority. They recently landed top candidates or potential candidates in New Hampshire and Colorado when former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown (R) and Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) entered the mix. Former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie's decision to run in Virginia made another Democratic-held seat more competitive. Democrats, meanwhile, are playing offense in Georgia and Kentucky.

Moran was joined on the call by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.). Walden pointed to Republican David Jolly's recent win in Florida's 13th district special election as evidence that Democrats' keep-it-but-fix-it refrain is a "total flop."

Obamacare, Walden said, is "not the only issue," but it's a "brutal issue."

The outcome of the Florida race "showed what will happen to Democrats in November," added Priebus.

While Moran touted Republicans' recruiting success and said Senate Republicans have a chance of winning more than a bare majority, he stopped short of predicting a GOP takeover.

"Our success is determined by what we do between now and November 2014," he said.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Justin Barasky responded: "The reality is that up and down the map Democrats are out-campaigning, out-fundraising, and out-organizing their Republican counterparts who support an anti-middle class agenda that’s good for billionaires like the Koch Brothers and bad for nearly everyone else in the country."

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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